Making a Career Change and Making a Difference

Ericka JourneeEricka Journee

Ericka Journee had a good career. She had a family. But something was missing.

She wanted to take her career in a different direction, to make a difference in the field of health policy. But she needed to complete her bachelor's degree to do it. That's when she discovered the online Integrated Social Sciences program at the UW.

"I'd previously studied at UW and it was important for me to go back there," Ericka said. "The ISS program was perfect for me, because I wouldn't have to uproot my family in Arizona to complete my degree."

The flexibility of the ISS program enabled her to go back to school, even as she worked full-time and cared for her daughter. Ericka accomplished her goal, graduating in late 2016 with her undergraduate degree. She was also accepted into the master's program in health administration at Cornell University.

"I received a quality education from a respectable university at a fantastic price, and the program was flexible for my needs," she noted. "It was ideal."


What motivated you to change careers?
I'm currently working as a full-time pharmacist, and I don't like the way things are going in the pharmacy industry. I see people struggling to pay for their medicine, and I don't think that's right. It's time for me to pursue a position where I can work on policies and speak on behalf of the patients. But I needed an additional degree first.

Why get a degree in social sciences?
The first time around in college, I was focused on math and physical and biological sciences. I didn't understand the concept of integrated social sciences. I was undereducated about the world around me, and this program offered new insight. They preached the broader, global perspective about the economy, health care, religion and more. Now when I start my new career, I'll be more culturally sensitive and aware that different communities and beliefs influence people, their decisions and how they do things. Understanding is crucial if you're trying to help a variety of individuals in health care.

Why did you choose the University of Washington?
The UW's an excellent school. The advisers and staff were supportive, available and helpful. The tuition was reasonable. There are a variety of classes. Other programs just weren't a good fit.

Did going back to school online fit in with your work and family life?
Definitely. The flexibility of the program was incredible. The teachers made sure that the tests and assignments were convenient and posted early, so I could do assignments in advance. Also, I'm a single mom and have a nine-year-old daughter. We had the chance to sit down and study together. It was interesting for her to see me attend school online.

Were you able to connect with the instructors?
Even though it was online, I felt like I knew my professors. They were very flexible and available to talk if I needed help. I don't feel like I missed out on anything in a bricks-and-mortar school by attending ISS online.

What would you tell someone considering the ISS program?
I have recommended the program to everyone who's thinking about going back to school. It's a terrific program and a great value for the money.